California Signs new law on Social Media Transparency

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California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a bill requiring social media companies to be transparent. The bill, AB-587, will require social media companies to publish their policies on hate speech, disinformation, harassment, and extremism on their platforms, as well as report data on how those policies are enforced.

“California will not stand by while social media is weaponized to spread hate and disinformation that endangers our communities and our country’s foundational values,” Newsom said in a statement.

In addition, the latest measure is expected to increase transparency and accountability in the policies that shape social media content. The law, introduced in the wake of the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, when criticism of the tech giants “role in inciting dissent and violence grew, is seen as one of the roles that American states are trying to play in governing the tech industry without Congress taking action.

However, unlike most state efforts to address content moderation measures on tech platforms, the California law is the most significant political effort to date on tech companies that are not doing enough to prevent abuse on their platforms.

Texas previously signed a law prohibiting social media companies from removing users or posts based on their political beliefs, but after technology companies sued, the Supreme Court blocked the law in May. This suggests that the California law could face challenges from the tech industry, which also opposes laws regulating content policing.

The sources for this piece include an article in Reuters.

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